Everest Base Camp, Step 1 : Research


My interest in hiking to Everest Base Camp started in November. I happened to visit a theme night on an outdoor store in Stockholm where a travelling agency were talking about their trips to Nepal. Before this evening, I hardly had clue that it even was a hiking trail up to Everest Base Camp, and even less how it was to hike it. The represent of the agency’s intention was of course to make people register for their trips there, but after walking through the United States on my own, I couldn’t help thinking if I could do this by myself too. I stayed and talked with them afterwards, and he told me that there are no advanced moments like climbing or glaciers along the trail up to Base camp, which immediately made my thoughts start spinning.

I started to check this out, I bought books and maps, went to more lectures with other travelling agencies and googled for information. It turned out to be quite hard to find information on how to make this hike on your own. I could certainly find out more about it, but almost all information was linked to an organised trip where a lot of the costs, like food and accommodation are included in the price. It was hard to find how you booked these things on your own, without the middle hand or what things actually cost. And that was where the idea of this project was born. I want to collect all that info I felt that I missed as a solo hiker and pass it on to others who are interested in the same thing.

Therefore, before my departure in September, I will review all the steps I have taken in my preparations for Everest Base Camp, such as budget, schedule and training, etc. But I start with what I did first: Research.

* At the time of writing this, I have not managed to get all the prices or found out exactly how all the things works. That will be something for me to check out while I’m there and summarize when I’m home again.

Location

There are two Everest Base Camp, one in Nepal and one in Tibet (China), of which the one in Nepal is the one I’m going to. If you plan to hike there, the most common thing to do is to fly to Kathmandu, then take a smaller domestic flight to the small mountain village of Lukla and then hike from there. If you want to extend your hike, you can also walk to Lukla from the village of Jiri, which you reach by bus or car from Kathmandu. Since my project is about exploring the budget options, I will start my Jiri trip to see if I’ll save some money hiking into Luka instead of flying. One thing is sure, I will get a lot more for my money and I will also have a bigger chance of reaching my goal as I will have even more time to get used to the elevation.

NEPAL
Capital: Kathmandu
Country Number: +977
Time zone: UTC +5: 45
Currency: Nepalese rupee, NPR. 1 NPR = 0.0096 USD / 1 USD = 104.19 NPR (May 2017). In some places, USD is also used.
Population: 28.51 million (2015)
Area: 147 181 km2
City: Republic
Official language: Nepali

Price, flight Sweden-Kathmandu: Between about 5,000 – 13,000 SEK, round trip. The price varies on total flight time, number of stops and how far in advance you book. My tickets cost 6800 SEK.

How to book: Use a search engine to compare flight prices.

Price, Flight Lukla-Kathmandu: About $150-170 one way.

How to book: *I’ve been helped by a travel agent to book this trip, but I will also investigate on location how it works.

Distance and elevation

When talking about hiking in mountains, it’s more common to talk about the distance you travel in altitude meters and how many hours you hike, rather than the actual length you walk. A hike from Lukla to Everest Base Camp means an increase of 2504 meters (8215 ft) in altitude and takes about 12 days (eight days up, including two ”acclimatization days” – short days when you get used to the height and often sleep two nights in the same place + four days back to Lukla). You walk somewhere between five to seven hours a day and it is important to take it slow and let it take time since you have to get used to the elevation. The total distance is approximately about 106 km (66 miles) back and forth from Lukla to Everest Base Camp.

If you, like me, choose to walk from Jiri, you can count on another five to six days of walking and 955 meters (3133 ft) elevation gain before coming to Lukla. This distance is approximately 76 km (47 miles) and in total it becomes 182 km (113 miles) from Jiri – Everest Base camp – Lukla, 17-18 days and an increase of 3459 meters (11 348 ft) in altitude.

During my hike, I will also climb the Kala Patthar and Lobuche Peak mountains, which means a total increase of 4 214 meters (13 825 ft) and my entire hike is estimated to take 22 days including two extra days for reservation for bad weather.

Length:

Jiri – Lukla: 76 km (47 miles)

Lukla – Everest Base Camp – Lukla: 106 km (66 miles)

Jiri – Everest Base Camp – Lukla (my hiking without the peaks): 182 km (113 miles)

Height:

Kathmandu: 1300 m (4265 ft)

Jiri: 1905 m (6250 ft)

Lukla: 2860 m (9383 ft)

Everest Base Camp: 5364 m (17598 ft)

Kala Patthar: 5645 m (18 520 ft)

Lobuche Peak, east: 6119 m (20 075 ft)

Mount Everest summit: 8848 m (29 028 ft)

 

Map from National Geographic: Lukla – Everest Base Camp

When

Nepal has four seasons, Spring: March-May, Summer/Monsun: June-September, Autumn: October-November and Winter: December-February. The most common months to hike to Base Camp are April and October, but it’s possible to hike throughout the whole spring and autumn season and some even go in January. If you want to get a glimpse of the expeditions that aims for the summit of Everest, you’ll have to go in April (May) though. This is the only month(s)  possible to make a summit attempt and also when there is an actual camp at Base Camp. Other times of the year it is completely empty.

Stay

In Kathmandu you can stay at a hostel or hotel, nothing is particularly expensive. Most hikers stay in the Thamel area, where there are plenty of shops selling or renting hiking equipment at low prices.

The trail itself goes between small mountain villages. The biggest, Namche Bazaar, is located at 3440 meter (11 286 ft) of altitude and has an population of about 1650 people, but there are plenty of smaller villages all the way up to Base Camp (the last one, Gorak Shep is about 4 km (2,5 miles) / 2-3 hours from Base Camp). In these villages there are several tea houses / lodges in which it’s most common to spend the night. You rent a bed and there might be some blankets, but you have to bring your own sleeping bag. It is also possible to camp, but as I’ve understand it you have to camp at marked places in the villages and they’re not free.

Price hostel / hotel Kathmandu: from $4,5/5  per night and person (according to booking.com). The hotels I booked was $63 in total for 5 nights.

How to book: Use a search engine such as booking.com, momondo.com, hotels.com etc. to compare prices. You can probably book directly in Kathmandu as well. I’m gonna find this out while in Nepal.

Price teahouse / Lodge: *Gonna find out in Nepal.

Price camping: *Gonna find out in Nepal.

How to book: *Gonna find out in Nepal.

According to the information I received, you can count on a total cost of $ 15-50 / day for accommodation, food and water. Some think it costs more, others less. A rather big difference if you ask me, so that is also something I will look into while in Nepal.

Eat

You can of course carry your own food, but as the hike will take over 10 days back and forth, it will be very heavy. You can by food at the tea houses / lodges you pass at a rather cheap price. It’s very common that you will get a special price for both food and accomodation, so make sure you eat and the same place you’ll be spending the night. There are also small shops where you can buy snacks but these get more expensive the higher up you get.

I might bring me a gas stove to boil water and some packets of noodles to save on lunch money. I will also bring some tea bags and snacks that I’ll buy Kathmandu.

Price breakfast / lunch / dinner:  *Gonna find out in Nepal.

Price example snacks: *Gonna find out in Nepal.

According to the information I received, you can count on a total cost of $ 15-50 / day for accommodation, food and water. Some think it costs more, others less. A rather big difference if you ask me, so that is also something I will look into while in Nepal.

Water

In order to safely drink the water in the mountains it has to be boiled and the most common thing is to buy a few liters of boiled water where you eat or sleep by handing over your water bottles for refilling. You can also buy bottled water, but this is not recommended, partly because of the price, but also because of the risk of littering. I might as I said, bring my own gas stove and then I can even boil the water myself. I will probably also bring some form of water purification product, for safety reasons. There are also other drinks to buy along the way. Note that it is recommended to avoid alcohol during a hike like this since it may complicate the acclimatization (you getting used to the eleveation).

Price water refill: According to one source $ 0.5-3 per liter, but this is also something I’m gonna find out in Nepal.

Price water bottle: *Gonna find out in Nepal.

How

When booking a trip through an travel agency, mostly carriers, ”Sherpas”, and guides are included which means that you don’t need to carry your pack yourself (however, you have to carry a day pack). You can also book private sherpas or guides on site. But since I’ve been walking through the entire United States, including passes over 4000 meters (13 000 ft) and also been carrying my own food for up to ten days at the same time without any major problems, I found it quite hard to see why I shouldn’t be able to carry my own stuff here as well. Therefor, I will not hire a sherpa , nor will I have a guide. The trail up to Base Camp is well visited, not to say crowded sometimes, and those who have been here testify that it’s almost impossible to get lost. And as the trail doesn’t pass any risky sections, a guide is not mandatory.

Price organised trips: About $2500-4000 + tip. These trips usually include food and accommodation, but rarely the flight to/from Kathmandu.

Price, sherpas + tip: *Gonna find out in Nepal.

Price, guide + tip: *Gonna find out in Nepal.

How to book a sherpa/guide: *Gonna find out in Nepal.

Vaccinations

As the recommendations for vaccinations vary, it is important that you check this out in good time before your trip. Recommended is three months before departure, as certain vaccinations must be taken far in advance and sometimes in multiple doses. You do not need a health certificate to enter Nepal (as long as you don’t come from/travel through Africa or South America. Then you need a certificate of being vaccinated against yellow fever), but it’s always good to make sure you have a vaccination card so you can keep track of your vaccinations for future trips and not have to get them and pay for it twice. If you do not already have one, ask for one when you get your vaccin.

How to do it: Check with your local vaccination reception how to do it and when. Some places have drop-in, others you have to schedule an appointment. I guess it varies from place to place and country to country. Before you go there, check out what kind the vaccinations you have gotten previously.

Price, vaccination: Varies depending on what you have gotten before and what is recommended at the moment. Also where you live. In Sweden where most health care is subsidised the cost for my vaccination will be about $ 160.

Insurance

When hiking in these mountains it’s very important that you have a good insurance. There’s some medical care in the mountains, but if you suffer from something serious or get seriously hurt, there are no roads to be picked up at, the only way out to larger hospitals is to be carried or be flown out by helicopter, which can be very expensive unless you are properly insured. The insurance system in Sweden is very good, my home insurance also includes a travel insurance for a certain number of days. If you are insured, be sure to check with your insurance company what’s included and if it covers high-altitude hiking (some require a supplementary insurance over a certain level). Also, ask specifically about what happens if you need to be picked up by a helicopter.

Visa and permits

To enter Nepal, a visa is required and you get this at the airport in Kathmandu, then you will need a hiking permit (TIMS) and a entry ticket for Sagarmatha National Park.

Visa: About 25 USD for 30 days. Get it at Kathmandu Airport. Make sure your passport is valid 6 months after your departure.

TIMS: 10 USD (via an agency) or 20 USD (if you hike on your own). If you are hiking on your own, this is purchased in Kathmandu at Bhrikuti Mandap Tourist Center near Ratna Park Bus depot. Bring a copy of your passport and two passport photos. Please note that the office can be closed on Saturdays and public holidays, but local travel agents can arrange it for an additional fee on other days.

Entrance Sagarmatha National Park: Approx. $30. Can be purchased along the trail at the entrance, or also  at Bhrikuti Mandap tourist center in Kathmandu.

Risks

The greatest risk of a hike up to Everest Base Camp is the elevation. You gain 2504 meters (8215 ft) of altitude from Lukla to Base Camp and it’s important to not stress and to know what you are doing. Especially if you’re hiking on your own. I will in future post have a closer look at this, what it may mean, how you should act, how to prevent that it will become a problem and how to prevent it even before departure. If you should do this trip on your own, it’s very important that you are aware of this and that you don’t push/overestimate yourself.

It can also get cold so warm clothes that protect against the wind, cold and moisture are a must. As is a warm sleeping bag. Assume that the temperature may drop below freezing at night, especially at higher altitudes.

Accept the elevation and cold, there’s just the same general risks as hiking in the woods at home, such as blisters, sore feet or tripping. Things that just require common sense and attention. A pair of comfortable (not new) shoes, clothes and a first-aid kit are always recommended. As mentioned above, the trail up to Base Camp is well visited and you won’t pass any glaciers, which makes it relatively safe. It is also so well marked that it’s hard to get lost. You should of course always use common sense and never take a side trail if you are not sure what you’re doing.

That’s all for now! In future blog posts, I will write about budget, schedule, elevation/acclimatization, training, packing list and eventually the trip itself!

Do you want to stay up to date when new posts are published? Enter your email address in the box on the right (desktop) or below (mobile) to receive an email when a new post is published!

You may also like

LEAVE A COMMENT

To the swedish site:

http://www.wilderness-stories.com/sv

Me who runs the blog

... is Linda Åkerberg. I'm a 32 years old photographer based in Stockholm, Sweden. Read more about me here

Instagram

CONTEST: Tag a friend and win a photo print!
In September I will visit the Swedish outdoor festival #UTEFEST and talk about my hike along the Pacific Crest Trail last year. I will also bring my exhibition with photos from the trail. Now you have the chance to win one of the prints! Tag a friend below that you want to set out on an adventure with for your chance to win! 
The winner will be picked at September 4th in collaboration with @utemagasinetsverige
#mywildernessstory
Few things taste as good as a cup of coffee made in the wild! After a long day of hiking, paddling, climbing or whatever you prefer to do, when you take a moment to sit down and reflect about the day you just went through, about the things you made, obstacles you have overcome - that's when a simple cup of coffee can taste better than anything else in the world. ☕️💕
#mywildernessstory
Spread some wilderness inspiration! Use the hashtag #mywildernessstory when posting your story or pictures in social media!
.
Wilderness Stories is growing. Right now I'm in the middle of designing the brand new website that will be launched in September! One new section will be #mywildernessstory where you can read other inspiring people's own story from the wilderness!
.
You can also share your own story for a chance to get featured by using the hashtag #mywildernessstory in social media.
.
Spread the word and help me inspire more people to get out in the wilderness! // Lots of love 💕 Linda
Always say yes to trying new stuff! It's by the end of our comfort zone magic starts to happen! 
This past week I've experienced some of the best days this summer. As I got to borrow two kayaks from @kajaksidan and @melkerofsweden, I've been able to try out my new passion for kayaking even more. And the best part - I've also been able to introduced it to some of my friends! This is @pearliepics on our magical sunset/photo shoot kayak trip last night. She was a bit unsteady in the beginning but paddled like a pro by the end of the night. ✨
My preparations for Everest Base Camp continues! In my new blogpost at wilderness-stories.com (link in bio) I've written about the risks being at higher altitude, how to prepare for it and how to act while you're there. Check it out!
Pic from climbing Mt. Whitney earlier this summer, taken at about 3900 meters.
Summer nights ❤️
TÄVLING! COMPETITION!
This fall I'll be visiting the Swedish outdoor festival Utefest where I will talk about my hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. I will also show my pics from the trail and now you have the chance to win one of the prints!
Do like this:
* Post your best adventure picture and tell your story behind it. * Tag: #mywildernessstory #utemagasinetsverige #utefest2017
* Follow @wildernessstories & @utemagasinetsverige 
The winner will be announced on September 4 and get to pick one of the images on wilderness-stories.com/sv/print-shop (link in bio) in the size 30x40cm. The print can be picked up on Utefest or be mailed after the event (with in Sweden).
It's not about having time - it's about making time.
What are you doing a normal day after work? Going home, cooking food, watching TV? Killing time? Why not bring your dinner and take a drive till you find a beautiful spot close to home instead? 
Picture from the back of my van by a lake I found exploring backcountry roads earlier this summer.
#makeeverydaycount #everydayisanadventure
I hope you all have had a really nice weekend! I went out with my boyfriend on my very first boat+camping trip! Jumped in the boat on Friday night and then just went straight out towards the sea until we found this super nice spot on a small island in the Stockholm archipelago. ❤️
It was such a luxury to not have to worry about the weight, so I brought my old super heavy and super big tent - felt like living in a castle after months in a one person tent! 😂
What have you done this weekend? Share your story under the hashtag #mywildernessstory !

Subscribe to new posts on Wilderness Stories!



Supporters